ADHD :: Use of Ritalin in preschoolers with attention deficit disorder

Is it safe to give preschoolers Ritalin, the popular attention deficit disorder drug? The first long-term U.S. government study of that age group warns of side effects with the stimulant drug, which isn’t recommended for children under age six. There were benefits for children who had severe ADHD, but the researchers said preschoolers on Ritalin need close monitoring because they’re more likely than older children to develop side effects.

The research was done because of concerns over reports that soaring numbers of preschoolers are being given psychiatric drugs, including Ritalin.

The study’s message is, proceed with caution, said Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

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